A plumber has revealed how he built up his property portfolio with three family homes by the age of 30 without making any changes to his lifestyle.
Ben Johnson from Melbourne bought his first home at 25, a new build in Ballarat an hour from Victoria’s capital.
But he regrets not jumping into the property market sooner because he was afraid he couldn’t ‘live a good life’ and buy a home at the same time.
Roof Plumber, Ben Johnson, has revealed how he managed to afford three properties without having to make huge lifestyle sacrifices
The 30-year-old has managed to travel to Europe and across Asia and pay off his mortgage on a family home and wishes he started sooner
‘People who don’t want to buy a property because they want to travel should just do both,’ he told FEMAIL.
‘In my experience investment properties are always going to have a positive yield.
‘And they are not hard to fill – people are always looking for a rental.’
The 30-year-old took ten months off work and traveled through Asia and Europe on a healthy budget – despite having a mortgage hanging over his head for his first home.
‘The rent pays off the mortgage and I still get a little bit on top – so when I was traveling I didn’t have to worry about it,’ he said.
The tradie explained the ‘first property is the hardest to get and it just gets easier after that’.
Mr Johnson’s family were not wealthy – growing up he had a big dream to own his own home.
Ben has never seen this Brisbane townhouse in person – but bought it using his super making it his third property
He never imagined he would have three, especially not by the age of 30.
For his first home the young man had $25,000 saved – this went towards the deposit and he borrowed $240,000 from the bank.
What are Ben’s top tips to building a property portfolio?
1 – Start young! I wish I had bought my first property at 20
2 – Don’t be afraid of debt! As long as your properties can pay your mortgage repayments you are fine
3 – Don’t put it off to travel! I did both and only needed $25,000 for my first deposit
4 – Look regional! You can buy three family homes for the same amount as one small city apartment
5 – You don’t have to live there! Many people are set on living in their homes when they can own and rent somewhere else – like the city centre
He planned to live in that house at first but ended up ‘following the work’ to Melbourne where he rents a one-bedroom apartment.
‘I was disappointed I couldn’t live in it at first but everything has worked out,’ he said.
The first home has recently been valued at $600,000 more than double what he paid for it five years ago.
Ben had to wait four years for the equity to build up in his first house so he could buy his second – also deciding on a new-build in his home town.
‘If I knew how it worked with equity I would have started at 20. I have realised the more you own the easier it is,’ he said.
For the second property Mr Johnson paid a deposit for the land and a separate one for the house build, letting the equity take care of the rest.
For his third home, a town house in Brisbane, he used his super.
‘I saw an ad that said if you have more than $100,000 in your super you can use it to buy a house,’ he said.
He went through a company called DDP property, who found an appropriate property for him to buy using his available super.
‘To me using my super made sense because this is my retirement plan – I don’t want to work until I am 65,’ he said.
The plumber has never seen his Brisbane property in person and admits that can be daunting but he is confident with the purchase.
‘I had people go over it and it is in great condition and it already had renters in it when I bought it so I haven’t had to do a thing,’ he said.
The recent housing boom in regional Victoria has also worked in the young man’s favour – with the property growth in Ballarat impacting the value of both of his homes as well as the amount he can ask in rent.
‘If I had been set on buying in a big city first I never would have afforded three properties, which is why I think rent-vesting is the way to go.
‘I thought about buying an apartment to live in but the growth isn’t as good and buying something in the middle of Melbourne is less affordable – so I will keep renting.’
Ben wants people to know they can still travel and do the things they love if they aren’t set on living in the homes they own
How can I use my super to buy a house?
Zaki Ameer, the man who taught Ben how to access his super to buy a third home, shares his tips for people wanting to do the same.
1. Consider buying a property away from where you live to find something more affordable to purchase using your super
2. Ensure the suburb of the property that you’re looking to purchase has proven long term capital growth
3. Make sure the rental income covers the property expenses
4. Having a super balance of around $100k may allow you to buy a property for around $350,000
5. Seek advice from licensed professionals who have a strong focus on property investing
Source: Zaki Ameer DDP Property
‘I wanted to buy in Brisbane because I think it will boom soon and then most buyers will be locked out like they are in Melbourne and Sydney.’
Mr Johnson said he didn’t have to tweak his lifestyle in order to buy the three properties.
‘They are all paying for themselves comfortably.’
Ben works as a roof plumber – he rents an apartment in Melbourne but says is investment properties ‘pay for themselves comfortably’
Even when interest rates rise he is confident with his ability to pay off his mortgages.
‘At the moment I am getting $60 on top every week – once the third house is finished and has renters in it I will be getting even more.’
And the predicted property crash doesn’t scare him either.
‘I plan to hold on to these properties in the long term – so even if things take a dive they will come back up and stabelise,’ he said.
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